February is Black History Month and while there are countless ways to honor and celebrate black history throughout the year, we’re giving you a place to start by highlighting eight nonprofits that are making major waves in their communities. From ensuring equal access to education to advocating for mental health awareness to creating black history for future generations, all of these organizations inspire us, and we hope they inspire you too.
Black Teach Project is the definition of “small but mighty.” From recruiting, developing and sustaining Black teachers for schools, BTP works to develop recruitment strategies, create support structures and even conduct research to ensure long term sustainability for Black teachers.
This Black History Month, they're undertaking a social media campaign on the best part about being a Black teacher. Check out the campaign here and learn more about this incredible organization.
The National Urban League consists of over 90 affiliates across the country. The Urban League of Portland was established in 1945 making it one of the oldest African American service, civil rights, and advocacy organizations in the region. Their work covers everything from achieving equality in education, health and economic security, to offering workforce services, summer youth programming, and civic engagement opportunities!
Just this month they held a day of legislative action bringing together members of the community to hear from legislators on bills currently in session and for the opportunity to elevate their voices on issues concerning the community.
Created in 1971, SPLC has worked tirelessly to ensure that civil rights is a reality for all. They’ve won numerous lawsuits ranging from stomping out the remnants of Jim Crow to protecting the rights of migrant workers. The Southern Poverty Law center also has an intelligence project working to track and expose hate groups across the country and a Teaching Tolerance Program that produces and distributes (entirely for free) anti-bias documentary films, books, and lesson plans!
A recent study they released found that schools are not adequately teaching the history of American slavery. In response, the SPLC's Teaching Tolerance Project assembled an advisory board and worked with prominent scholars to to develop a framework and offer a set of recommendations for teaching about American slavery. Learn more about the campaign here.
BlackPAC uses the power of political engagement to implement change in the country’s economic, justice, and political systems. Through long-term sustained engagement with Black voters, BlackPAC is committed to holding public officials accountable to policies that defend the rights and promotes the dignity of the Black community.
One of their current policy proposals hopes to to enact solutions that address the structural nature of racial disparities in the economy. The policy brief includes proposals for safe affordable housing, an ending of predatory loans, putting and end to the privatization of prisons, and more.
Black Women for Wellness started out with the goal of connecting Black pregnant women to mentors who coached parents from pregnancy until the child was at least one year old. Since then, the organization has evolved to address policy issues as well.
Some programs they’re currently working on include: a diabetes prevention program, policy work on reproductive justice, and workshops focusing on leadership, advocacy, and mental health awareness.
Founded in 1999, the Advancement Project works with communities of color to dismantle unjust policies and create community-based solutions for racial justice.
One of their key campaigns, called Fair & Safe, supports communities of color to end mass incarceration. The Advancement projects provides legal policy and organizing and communications support to end police brutality, reform laws, reinvest public funding spent on mass incarceration and restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated people.
Black Public Media emerged out of a need for more stories from Black storytellers. BPM provided seed money to create pathways for funding and distribution for storytellers such as Spike Lee, Julie Dash, Stanley Nelson, Shola Lynch, and Byron Hurt. They’ve since expanded to include web content and engage with the public on conversations on race, history, and social issues. After more than 40 years of work, they continue to leverage their expertise by investing in innovative content creators!
Higher Heights works to elevate the voices of Black women in politics while advancing progressive politics. By working to strengthen Black Women’s participation in both advocacy and the electoral process, Higher Heights strives to create an environment where more Black women can be elected to public office.
They even have an initiative called “Sistas to Watch” featuring incredible Black women not only in the political sphere but in positions of power in corporations, universities, the media, and more. These are women who are implementing change and mobilizing at both the local and national level. Learn more about these leaders here.
Though this list barely begins to scratch the surface of the countless organizations worth celebrating this Black History Month and all year long, these 8 remarkable nonprofits are a great place to start. Have an organization that you think deserves a shout out? Let us know by emailing us here!